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Whitebait

Tasty Whitebait fritter stall, originally uploaded by Mister Wind-Up Bird.

“What is whitebait?” I hear you ask.

From wikipedia:

“Whitebait are tender and edible, and can be regarded as a delicacy. The entire fish is eaten including head, fins and gut. Some species make better eating than others, and the particular species that are marketed as “whitebait” varies in different parts of the world.

[…]

“New Zealand whitebait are caught in the lower reaches of the rivers using small open-mouthed hand-held nets although in some parts of the country where whitebait are more plentiful, larger (but not very large) set nets may be used adjacent to river banks. Whitebaiters constantly attend the nets in order to lift them as soon as a shoal enters the net. Otherwise the whitebait quickly swim back out of the net. […] The combination of the fishing controls, a limited season and the depletion of habitat as a result of forest felling during the era of colonisation results in limited quantities being available on the market. Also, a lack of shade over waterways has been shown to kill the whitebait eggs.”

The more you know!